>The Midweek Review…21/05/08…

>With just the small matter of the playoffs and the Champions League final to decide, the season is coming to an abrupt end and the wait will begin on Monday for possibly our most anticipated season in recent memory.

The stage is already set for a grand summer at Sixfields. Already we have Gilligan and Holt both signed up and Bayo given a very good offer to stay if rumours are true and he would be one of the top earners at the club should he decide that his future is at Sixfields. The early decisions of both Gilligan and Holt to sign again shows that Stuart Gray has them believing in what could be a very bright future.

Holt’s experience could be invaluable next season as the majority of the squad are of a young age. He’s been fairly inconsistent at times but his strength down the left goes a little unnoticed at times. A couple of goals late in the season also helped his cause and we certainly don’t have many like him in the rest of the squad.

Mark Bunn is attracted a lot of interest as usual but it turns out that Stuart Gray and David Cardoza are not giving up the fight to keep him and are in contract talks with the keeper. Another massive sign of intent from the club and it’s hard to see anything that’s wrong with the set up at the moment. Relations with the council seem to be improving, as does the financial situation and everything just seems a little bit too right at the moment! A typical Cobblers fans’ view is that something will surely go wrong somewhere!

Looking ahead to the playoff finals this weekend and three intriguing games to get through to round off the season. Two northern towns go head to head as Stockport County take on Rochdale in the League Two final on Monday and Rochdale in particular will be desperate to get out of the basement league after over thirty years in the bottom flight of English football without a promotion or relegation!

In League One, Leeds will be favourites to overcome Doncaster but Rovers hit an impressive five past Southend last week in the semi-finals so could well push them hard. It would be nice to go to Elland Road again next season but the head says that we should be hoping that it’s Donny who remain in this division.

The Championship showpiece takes place on Saturday and both Bristol City and Hull City will be looking to make history. Both sides have rocketed up the league ladder in recent years and will both see themselves as having a very good chance of beating their opponents.

Watching the playoffs and it’s hard not to feel a little sad that we didn’t make it ourselves. Just watching other sides in a similar position to us make it up to the next level is heart wrenching and even seeing Bristol City one game away from the Premier League gives hope to anyone with a claret heart.

But for now we watch in jealousy as the playoff final takes place and hope that come this time next year we’ll be creating a little bit of history ourselves.

Up The Cobblers!


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